For many computer users, gamers and casual enthusiasts alike, a mouse pad is the least important and last to be replaced item in their rig. The other side of this coin is a different story entirely. The avid gamer will know exactly how important it is to have the perfect surface under your hand as you track those corners to pick out an important headshot. They will also know that there is no bigger name in performance gaming equipment than that of Razer and as such, I am lucky enough to be taking a good look at their 2013/2014 line of mouse pads.
Provided for us, in the always well packaged and neat looking Razer style, the ever solid Goliathus in both speed and control versions. Alongside this, we get to test out the dual-surface Invicta, Manticor and Destructor 2 speed surfaces with the Megasoma 2 control pad rounding off the collection.
If you are not interested in browsing through this, but feel you need some justification for the price you would pay for one of these pads, it might be useful to know that these surfaces are optimized for optical, laser, and dual-sensor mice while being put through both acceleration and precision testing where robotic arms move mice across the pads the ensure the surface textures are up to standard. The new Razer Synapse software also allows you to calibrate your specific mouse pad to you specific Razer mouse just to ensure maximum mouse responsiveness.
I cannot help but go straight for the Invicta. Its ability to change between a control and speed surface allows versatility across a range of games. Mounted in an aluminium base is a plastic pad that easily slips out so you can choose a surface. The base itself has a fantastic adhesive material that prevents the entire setup from moving on any surface and the speed surface is flawless while some might prefer a little more resistance from the control side. The only gripes I have with this pad are that it is all too reminiscent of a chopping board and the metal base catches your wrist on occasion with some uncomfortable results.
The Manticor possesses a speed pad that is exceptionally smooth and feels great underhand. The Razer logo on the top right corner is slightly raised from the pad, but in an area rarely used and doesnâ€™t affect mouse movement at all. The pad is very thin with the bottom coated in non-slip rubber and I prefer this entirely. The pad is almost flush with your desk and it is very unlikely that you will catch your wrist moving on and off it. The pad itself has a good friction to it for a speed pad. There is no sense of an endless glide when you stop the mouse and once itâ€™s halted, there is absolutely no movement. Despite being a bit pricey, this mouse pad is in my opinion, untouchable for anyone that prefers a hard speed mat.
Rounding off the speed mats, we have the Goliathus speed. This 35.5 xx 44.4 cm wonder ticks every box for me. I prefer the feel of a cloth pad, am not one for control pads, and use a very low sensitivity resulting in every inch of the pad being used. While a slightly smaller pad was provided for review when compared to the SteelSeries QcK pads or the Corsair equivalents, it is still wide enough to provide a 120 degree turn with very low sensitivities and better yet, is available in four different sizes. This pad seems better constructed, the edges are woven to prevent fraying and it sits ever so comfortably underhand. Moving the pad laterally using anything less than godlike force is undoable. It doesnâ€™t have as much friction as most cloth speed pads and you donâ€™t feel like you have to fight with the pad just to line-up that headshot. This for me is everything I need in a gaming pad. It works flawlessly for any game type whether it is a FPS, MOBA, or RTS.
Moving on from my slightly overwhelming love affair with the Goliathus speed, we have the hard friction pad going by the ominous name of Destructor version 2. Light, flexible and thin, it sits well on your table and is a pleasant pad to place your wrist on but press down too hard and for too long and you may end up sanding off some skin. I am personally not a fan of control surfaces, but this tracks smoothly and stops dead with what I think is the maximum friction I could handle playing with. That being said, it is a little noisy and I checked the bottom of my mouse on several occasions to ascertain whether or not it was filing it down little by little. Luckily, there was no such effect. A solid pad, though the grating noise put me slightly off and thus not endearing itself to me.
Next on the list is the Megasoma 2. This all new hybrid hard/soft mat is designed to provide the precision of a hard mat, with the comfort of a cloth one. Sporting an anti-static treated surface and anti-fraying edges, it certainly feels solid and well made. The smooth non-slip base differs from those of the other pads, but performs no less effectively.
At first, the pad feels great on your hand and lightly moving the mouse across exhibits the smooth control expected from such a pad. However, once in game, I encountered what I feel is quite a hindrance. Most gamers, especially FPS players, move the mouse from their wrist as opposed to using their arm. This means that the full weight of their forearm is usually resting on the pad. The benefits of playing in this style include greatly improved control and reaction as only your wrist is moving. Starting up a game of Counter Strike: Global Offensive, I began my usual pub smashing aim practice: that is, minimize the approaching corner angle and always, ALWAYS, track the corner you are attacking. Immediately, I noticed that my wrist was catching on the friction surface of the pad, causing my cursor to jump as opposed to the smooth movement I required. I could rectify this by putting a lot less weight on the mouse pad, but it detracted from my experience considerably. As such, I cannot help but feel that something has been missed over at Razer, and surely I cannot be the only one with this problem. Not a mouse pad I could ever use.
Lastly, recovering from that horrifying moment when I thought my aim was off. We have the Goliathus control pad. Exactly the same as its speedy cousin, though I have not quite fallen for it as I have its charming family member (collecting the set is not grants style). Its friction surface is quite significantly grippier than the hard pads tested earlier but unlike the Megasoma 2, my hand does not stick to it when moving slowly and deliberately across its length. Itâ€™s a great pad and worthy of any who prefer control over speed.
This spells the end of the pads I have available. For the most part, they are all user friendly and each one satisfies a particular type of gamer but for me, the love affair I have had with the Goliathus speed just cannot be ignored. Its build quality and overall feel are unparalleled and I implore you to at least test it out before you consider anything else.
Check out the Razer Science of Surfaces website: Surfaces